The question of "which platform to build an app for first" has been a popular one for the past five years. Now with the rise of startups the questions has become even more pertinent and paramount.
With Windows and Blackberry practically out of the picture when compared to Android app development and iOS app development, the fight to the top has broken down to only two contenders.
In this comparative article, I will address to certain features of both platforms adjacently so that understanding which platform to choose for mobile app development becomes simple.
Android App Demographics vs iOS App Demographics
Android currently has the largest global platform share, with a particular prominence in lower income areas and developing nations. Comparatively, iOS users typically have higher income, higher education levels, more engagement, and spend more per app. That obviously does not mean that those who have those same characteristics won't carry an Android device. Rather, this data is indicative of the general Android population.
Android App Revenue Models vs iOS App Revenue Models
The revenue models behind Android and iOS are somewhat representative of the approaches of Google and Apple. Android has a higher percentage of ad-supported apps where comparatively, paying for apps is still more common on iOS. There's ample data that shows iOS apps earn more revenue, with that number being 70% more in the last quarter of 2015.
Android Release Cycles vs iOS Release Cycles
Android regularly lags behind iOS in terms of adoption rate of its latest OS version. As of today, more than 70% of users on iOS are on some version of iOS 9, which came out in September 2015. By comparison, less than 5% of all Android users are on Marshmallow and about 25% on Lollipop, which first started appearing in June 2014.
This means that on iOS, you can focus on supporting the newest versions of the operating system with relative certainty your app will still have a broad reach. That focus allows developers to build against newer APIs, stop supporting older devices sooner, and generally, reduces testing and development cycle times.
Android Enterprise Apps vs iOS Enterprise Apps
Over time, iOS has been able to penetrate the workplace, supplanting Blackberry in particular as a top option for enterprise-wide deployment. Along with other barriers for enterprise adoption, the more locked-down iOS compared to "open" Android has helped push iOS to be known as the more secure option. MDM providers have more sophisticated tools for managing iOS devices and apps. Apple also has had a number of programs for some time that are focused on businesses, including the iOS Developer Enterprise Program and its Volume Purchase Program. Last year Apple also announced a partnership with IBM for mobile enterprise apps.
Android Tablet Apps vs iOS iPad Apps
It's at least worth mentioning the absolute dominance of iOS in the tablet market, especially for business users. While tablet sales may have slowed, you'll be hard pressed to find an Android tablet in a meeting room or on the desk of any executive. Anecdotally, only fairly technical people seem to have Android tablets.
It's not uncommon that someone may have an Android smartphone but use an iPad as their preferred tablet. So with the study of these points I believe, as a startup, you can point your finger towards which platform you would want to pick for mobile app development. But every business is different, every product or service your offer to your customer is relevant to many factors which are not purely string tied to mere technological features. So understand your business and most importantly understand your customers before your opt for either Android or iOS app development.
It is crucial here to also mention a few misconceptions that spawn in the way of startup entrepreneurs in their quest towards building a great app.
Android App Development Speed vs iOS App Development Speed
Misconception "Speed to market is always a consideration when building an app. Android apps take on average 2-3 times longer to build."
Wrong! This is not a consideration and certainly does not hold true. Development speed on both iOS and Android is more or less the same.
Though on the other hand, speed element can only be considered when related to release and approval times. Apple's approval process means an app on average can possibly get updated 3-4 times per month. In theory, an update can be pushed that same number of times per day on Android. So while an iOS app can get to market faster, which is arguably the more important criteria, Android apps allow you to get regular updates to users more quickly.
Android App Cost vs iOS App Cost
Misconception "Android apps usally take a longer time to build and thus result in higher costs"
Wrong! again. As development time is more or less the same, the cost stands as another factor that does NOT determine which development you should chose.
In my next article, I will talk about the ideal situations when a startup is ready to opt for either Android, iOS or dual platform mobile app development. Till then stay updated with the blog for the latest news around technologies that run the world.